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Shackleton's Voyage of Endurance

Program Overview


NOVA chronicles a tale of leadership that marked one of the most remarkable survival stories of all time—that of Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914 British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

The program:

  • tells Shackleton's story through archival photos and footage, crewmember diary entries, interviews with crewmembers' relatives, and present-day footage of locations on Shackleton's journey.

  • chronicles the physical and psychological state of crew members throughout their journey: as the Endurance becomes stuck in pack ice and then sinks; as the men set up their first, and then second, camps on ice; as the crew sets sail in three lifeboats for Elephant Island; and as Shackleton and five others set out in a modified lifeboat in a final bid for rescue.

  • details the crew's day-to-day life, including what they ate, what duties they performed, and what they did for recreation.

  • shows the strong loyalties crew members had for Shackleton, who they fondly called "The Boss," and what the consequences were of disobeying orders or creating dissent.

  • explores the leadership decisions Shackleton made that led to the eventual rescue of his entire crew.

Teacher's Guide
Shackleton's Voyage of Endurance
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